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We The People

Social Consciousness in a Terrifying New World

Contents

I. Preamble: We The People – New social consciousness in a troubled world

II. The Port Huron Statement – Participatory Democracy 40 Years Later

III. Defending the Essence – The Constitution under attack

  • Understanding the PATRIOT Act
  • Understanding the TIPS Program
  • Destroying Freedom to Save Freedom

IV. The Return of the Robber Barons

  • Understanding the current state of the economy
  • The murder by inches of functional capitalism
  • A roll call of criminals

V. War Without End

  • A rudderless global conflict with no end in sight
  • The promulgation of fear as a political tool

VI. Conclusion

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Preamble: We The People

New Social Consciousness in a Troubled World

" The goal of man and society should be human independence: a concern not with image of popularity but with finding a meaning in life that is personally authentic: a quality of mind not compulsively driven by a sense of powerlessness, nor one which unthinkingly adopts status values, nor one which represses all threats to its habits, but one which has full, spontaneous access to present and past experiences, one which easily unites the fragmented parts of personal history, one which openly faces problems which are troubling and unresolved: one with an intuitive awareness of possibilities, an active sense of curiosity, an ability and willingness to learn."

- The Port Huron Statement, 1962

On September 10th, America was a nation at rest. The economy, while showing troubling signs of a slow-down, remained robust after several years of breathtaking strength. There were wars and rumors of wars across the globe, but little of that served to threaten or disquiet the average American. The populace was content to follow the vagaries of a political scandal surrounding Gary Condit, and the media was more than happy to oblige. If you were not a California congressman under suspicion, a shark on the attack, or a clone, your story did not see much daylight on the news.

On September 10th, politics was badly broken, yet no one appeared to notice. Ten months earlier the nation witnessed the fundamental right to vote go careening off the track. At the end of the day, it does not matter whom you think actually won the contest down in Florida in November of 2000. The fact that such a mess came about at all, and the fact that a President had to be chosen by the Judicial branch of the government instead of by the counting of votes in the ballot box, was a damaging blow to the bedrock core of our democracy. More damaging by far was the fact that 100 million Americans refused to vote at all in that election.

On September 10th, few people in America seemed to care. For years, we have known with absolute clarity that our voices and our votes carry ever diminishing weight along the halls of power. 100 million people did not participate in the last Presidential election, voting in their silence to disdain the widening distance between elected officials and the people they represent. Power spoke only to the few, to those who could pay for access with millions of dollars. The average American knew she was a cipher, a meaningless dot, of no significance when compared to the moneylenders in the temple. Americans did not rise up in outrage after the 2000 election because, simply, they knew that whoever won the contest would be beholden to those same wealthy interests that robbed the people of their voice. Of course there were differences between the candidates. But politics in Washington was still exactly the same, and the rules that barred the gates of influence against the people would still stand.

On September 10th, these disturbing facts were known to every single American citizen, and yet few believed they could do anything about it. Power was out of reach, and disinterested apathy became a refuge that offered succor in the face of such anxieties. We had our breads and circuses, many of us had jobs, and the safety and security of our nation appeared unassailable. Since there was no way people could change things, there was no sense getting worked up about it.

And then, from a brilliant blue sky, change and fear were thrust upon us by murderers.

It has been said often that the attacks of September 11th changed everything. To a great degree, this is true. 9/11 brought the continental core of America into contact with the bloodshed and strife that has afflicted the rest of the world for generations. For decades, we were swaddled in a protective blanket provided by two oceans, thousands of nuclear missiles, and an army of surpassing might. This blanket was stripped away when the Towers fell. 9/11 brought us into immediate conflict with scores of nation-states across the planet, heralding the fearsome specter of war without end against an ever-shifting and faceless enemy. 9/11 caused us to question the essence of our freedoms, as it was those very freedoms the killers exploited in order to attack us.

To say that 9/11 changed everything, however, is to speak a lie. All of the dismal truths that afflicted our society before the attacks are still here, untouched and unmolested. Power is still held by a wealthy few who spend their money influencing politicians that are all too willing to listen to the jingle of coins, instead of the concerns of the people they are supposed to represent. American policy continues to be bent around the concerns of this fortunate minority – one need look only to the economic "stimulus package" foisted by the Bush administration to purportedly offset the damage 9/11 did to our economy, a package that manifestly enriched the already-rich with tax give-aways paid for with our collected revenues, to see this as an unassailable truth.

The news and information services, originally crafted to ensure that this democracy and the people who own it are informed in their decisions, instead work to make sure that the people remain passive, uninspired, frozen in apathy, and distracted by nonsense. We still know almost nothing about why 9/11 happened in the first place. We are told little about the laws being put in place in the aftermath, laws that restrict and destroy much of what made this country unique in the world. We watch our money evaporate in a free-falling economy, but are bereft of explanations or information on how this calamity can be repaired.

There is one great change that has taken hold across the land, a difference that must be harnessed if we the people are to fulfill our responsibilities to this democracy. All across this great nation, citizens have been awakened to the awful reality that our actions as a country, our failure to seek justice, and our failure to demand a voice along the halls of government, makes us the target of murderers. For a generation, our leaders have moved across the globe with heavy hands and an eye for profit. Often, they did these things for the betterment of the moneylenders who paid for the privilege of influence, and not for the betterment of the people.

Our involvement in the chaotic and violent politics of the Middle East stands as a prime example. We have propped up murderous regimes in nations such as Iraq, Iran, and Saudi Arabia to ensure the free flow of petroleum. In doing so, we have created an army of enemies whose anger is augmented by the economic disparities created by our involvement there. The attacks of 9/11 came as a direct result of this. Rather than seek ways to remove ourselves from this bloody equation, we dive ever deeper into the quagmire because those who control the agenda of our government profit wildly by our addiction to oil. As the global supply of this resource dwindles, the violence surrounding it will escalate, until the day comes when 9/11 is remembered as a small, inconsequential attack because events will have come that dwarf it in significance.

This is the writing on the wall for all to see, and 9/11 made it all the more evident. The American people have come to realize these dangerous facts vividly, increasing our anxiety and fear. Yet because we believe we have no voice, there seems to be little we can do. We are strapped to the wagon as it rolls towards the precipice; we know it, we fear it, but we cannot see a way to undo the ropes that have lashed us to an inevitable doom.

This Manifesto has been created as a means to crystallize the problems that face our democratic society, and has been created to bring about a broad movement towards participatory democracy. We seek to inform Americans about the challenges we face, and we seek to inspire Americans to become more involved in the means to effect real change. This may sound revolutionary, but it is in fact a return to the basic premise upon which the country was founded. This nation was built with four separate parts, all of which must work in concert to achieve the dreams that birthed it:

  • The Executive Branch
  • The Legislative Branch
  • The Judicial Branch
  • The People

The Executive and Legislative branches were created to enact laws and protect the interests of the people. The Judicial branch stands as final arbiter, and is created through nominations by the other two. Each of these three branches are utterly worthless, and indeed profoundly dangerous, without the active involvement of the People. We are the fourth branch of government, the owners of the democracy, and we have been terribly remiss in our duties. All of the problems that afflict us and sap our strength stem from the fact that this fourth branch of democratic government has been absent from the equation.

There are reasons and reasons again for this dereliction of duty, too many to list here. This state of affairs must be reversed, and we seek to undertake the formulation of that change.

This Manifesto does not protest against anything per se; there exists such a galaxy of problems that focusing on some or all of them would yield a divided effort whose strength would become depleted and too-thinly spread. This Manifesto has been created as a means to protest for something: The dynamic and active reinvestment of the People in the ways and means of government in America. There is no other avenue for change that has a hope of being effective.

Having stated this, it is clear that there are several glaring issues to be addressed. The following pages will describe these issues in detail. In short, we seek with this Manifesto to draw active citizen participation to stand against:

1. The ruination of our Constitutional protections. Congress, wallowing in fear after 9/11, passed the USA PATRIOT Anti-Terror Act at the behest of George W. Bush and his Attorney General, John Ashcroft. This Act has delivered unprecedented powers of surveillance and harassment into the hands of the Federal government. John Ashcroft is not a man to be trusted with these powers, nor is any government as powerful as ours. We stand against this Act, and seek to inform the citizenry of exactly what is at stake here.

2. The ruination of our economic system. American disinterest in the ways and means of governmental fiscal and economic policy have led us to our current sorry state as much as corporate criminals like Ken Lay have. We stand against these 21st century robber barons who fester like a cancer within our economic system, and seek to inform the populace of all they have let happen, and all they can do to correct the situation.

3. The specter of eternal war. We unequivocally and absolutely denounce and despise those who perpetrated the monstrous acts of September 11th. They have removed themselves from the human community by their deeds. Justice must be done. But justice cannot and must not involve the militarization of the world. To date, the actions by our government to address 9/11 have done little but ensure that another such attack will take place. We seek to inform the citizenry of the war that is being waged in their name, and the consequences of that war. We seek the active involvement of the people to demand answers regarding why 9/11 happened, and to fully involve the people in guiding our government through this deadly time.

We seek simple, direct action. We seek a change of attitude among the citizens who stand today on the firing line with crosshairs targeted on their backs. We believe that this American Experiment will die soon of neglect if that fourth and most vital branch of government does not return to its constitutionally-mandated duties. The founding documents say 'We The People' for a reason.

At bottom, we seek with this to create something that has been missing for decades – a unifying idea. We hope with this to create a broad spectrum of individuals and groups who are against many things that are wrong within our society, but who will join this concept of being for participatory democracy, because in that dynamic social participation lies the cure for so much of what so many are against.

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Next:
The Port Huron Statement

Come Wind, Come Weather...

"Beware the Ides of March!"

Unfortunately, we were not able to gather the permits for our March Protest in Washington D.C. We are revamping this web site to coinside with a national flyer campaign in partnership with The Alliance For Democracy. Stay tuned.

Manifesto:

I. Preamble: We The People - New social consciousness in a troubled world

II. The Port Huron Statement - Participatory Democracy 40 Years Later

III. Defending the Essence - The Constitution under attack

  • Understanding the PATRIOT Act
  • Understanding the TIPS Program
  • Destroying Freedom to Save Freedom

IV. The Return of the Robber Barons

  • Understanding the current state of the economy
  • The murder by inches of functional capitalism
  • A roll call of criminals

V. War Without End

  • A rudderless global conflict with no end in sight
  • The promulgation of fear as a political tool

VI. Conclusion

 


www.participatory-democracy.org | 2000-2011